Our Research Mission

The mission of the Cryptography and Privacy Engineering Group (ENCRYPTO) is to demonstrate that privacy can be efficiently protected in real-world applications. For this, we bring theory into practice by using methods from applied cryptography and algorithm engineering for developing protocols, tools, and software prototypes to efficiently protect sensitive data in various application scenarios.

Our Reseach Topics

As shown below for our research sub-areas, our excellent research is highly recognized, we were often among the first in the respective research area, and our aim is to publish our results at top venues in IT security/applied cryptography (top conferences with CORE ranking A* or A marked in bold below).

We are always open to industry partners who want to support our research in these areas.

Awards

Publications (selection)

One of the core competencies of the ENCRYPTO group is building tools that make efficient secure multi-party computation accessible to non-experts. We make our tools available as open source and they are used by several research groups and industry.

Awards

Publications (selection)

Privacy-preserving machine learning allows to run machine learning algorithms while protecting both the data and the models. This can be achieved by using secure computation techniques.

Awards

  • 2021 Private AI Collaborative Research Institute: For our project proposal “Engineering Private AI Systems (EPAI)”, the ENCRYPTO Group was awarded to participate in the Private AI Collaborative Research Institute, which is formed and funded by Intel, Avast, and Borsetta. The center aims at advancing technologies for privacy and trust in decentralized AI.
  • 2019 Intel Research Award: The ENCRYPTO group was awarded by Intel Corporation for our research in the area of “Secure and Privacy Preserving AI Frameworks and Run-Times for Data Scientists and Service Providers”.

Publications (selection)

Private set intersection (PSI) allows two or multiple parties to jointly compute the intersection of their input sets without leaking any information about elements that are not in the intersection. PSI has many applications such as contact discovery in mobile messengers like Signal or Whatsapp, or measuring ad conversion rates as run by Google and merchants. We are mostly interested in improving the efficiency of PSI protocols for practical applications. Watch our explanatory video on YouTube.

Awards

  • 2020 German IT-Security Award 2nd Prize: With “ContactGuard: Mobile Private Contact Discovery”, Christian Weinert, Thomas Schneider, and former ENCRYPTO master student Matthias Senker together with Daniel Kales and Christian Rechberger from TU Graz won the second prize in the 8. German IT-Security Award 2020 (60,000 EUR) among 46 submissions.
  • 2019 Best Thesis: Matthias Senker won the price of the Association of Friends of TU Darmstadt “for the best thesis at the chair of Cryptography and Privacy Engineering (ENCRYPTO) 2018” for his master thesis “PSI Meets Signal: Integrating a Malicious-Secure Private Contact Discovery Solution in an Open-Source Instant Messaging Service”.
  • 2016 Finalist of German IT-Security Award: With “Practical Private Set Intersection”, Michael Zohner and Thomas Schneider together with Benny Pinkas from Bar-Ilan University were among 9 finalists in the 6. German IT-Security Award 2016 among 45 submissions.
  • 2015 CeBIT 2015: Our PSI research was showcased at the booth of the BMBF at CeBIT 2015.

Publications (selection)

Private function evaluation allows to securely evaluate a private function on private data while protecting both the function and the data. This has many applications such as user-specific insurance tarifs or private ML inference that also protects the ML models.

Awards

  • 2018 Heidelberg Laureate Forum: Ágnes Kiss was invited to the Heidelberg Laureate Forum 2018 for her outstanding research on Private Function Evaluation.
  • 2018 CAST IT Security Award: Daniel Günther with his work on “Valiant’s Universal Circuit – Towards a Modular Construction and Implementation” won the first prize among three finalists in the category “Best Bachelor Thesis” at the CAST IT Security Award 2018.

Publications (selection)

We have strong expertise in applying cryptographic protocols to improve privacy in real-world applications. This often involves exciting and very fruitful interdisciplinary research with other areas.

Awards

Publications (selection)

We improve the efficiency and practicality of cryptographic protocols and in particular of secure computation protocols.

Publications (selection)

Hardware-assisted cryptographic protocols allow to improve the efficiency and/or security of cryptographic protocols by using trusted hardware such as smartcards or trusted execution environments like Intel SGX or ARM TrustZone or hardware accelerators.

Publications (selection)

We analyze and attack the privacy and security of real-world systems and research papers and propose fixes and alternatives.

Publications (selection)